author: Karol Laska
How Did Elden Ring Beat God of War Ragnarok to GOTY? Here's My Take
The two highest-scoring games of the year were Elden Ring and God of War: Ragnarok, and they competed for the title of GOTY at the recent The Game Awards ceremony. What's the reasoning behind the ultimate choice?
Elden Ring goes for vision, Ragnarok goes for quality
GOD OF WAR: RAGNAROK VS. ELDEN RING – GOTY TITLE
- God of War: Ragnarok deserved GOTY more if: the game of the year is to be a title presenting, above all, the highest quality of delivery, nearly perfect in terms of the mechanics, story and audiovisuals.
- Elden Ring deserved GOTY more if: the game of the year is supposed to be an original title, wildly playable and visionary, which can be forgiven a few obvious shortcomings, especially technical.
- The result of the match: 3:2 in favor of God of War: Ragnarok
- My personal choice: Elden Ring
So it's time for a few conclusions – not as clear-cut as I would like, because the duel turned out to be even more ambiguous, even after breaking it down into individual elements. So, for now, the easiest way is to get our facts together.
God of War outclasses Elden Ring in technical terms – it works perfectly, looks better, its cinematography is impressive in the next-gen era, and the story is sure to conquer the hearts of more players. Elden Ring , in turn, offers much more content, shows the power of open worlds, intrigues with an intricate plot, and although its locations and opponents look dazzling, the game sometimes fails in terms of performance, and can be disappointing in terms of graphics. Both of these positions feel equally well have extensive combat systems and defend themselves perfectly well in terms of gameplay.
So, turning this description into mathematical terms – GoW scores higher in terms of story and the technical/audiovisual category. Elden Ring is more captivating when it comes to exploration and side activities, and the gameplay is in both cases at quite the same level. So, the score is 3:2 in favor of Ragnarok. So, after a tough battle, the outcome should be clear, right? We should be calling the new God of War the game of the year 2022, right?
Well, on paper – sure. It's a more refined and clear-cut production, perfectly tailored to mass audiences; a triple-A game offering the highest, almost flawless quality. If you consider all the pros and cons, and compare the core elements of both games, it simply turns out it offers higher quality than Elden Ring. The title of game of the year would have gone to Ragnarok if the award was simply about quality and quality of delivery.
But nothing seems as simple in this world. Because the best video games – or texts of culture in general – are something more than meticulously crafted products or diamonds polished with atomic precision. Games have the potential to be, above all, bold, unconventional and groundbreaking works that are remembered for years, and which serve as points of reference in various discourses or creative processes. And the vision, the memorability is much stronger in the Elden Ring, hands down.
Souls and open worlds – two conventions ground almost ad nauseam by the gaming industry – were combined and it turned out that together they form something extremely fresh and compatible, something that challenged mainstream norms. The open world void of markers and not leading the player by the hand proudly continues the legacy of Breath of the Wild, which unfortunately not everyone could experience as it was exclusive to Switch. Elden Ring is multi-platform, embedded in a proven formula and as such, it reached "the masses," and at the same time showed that the open world can be done differently, making a game immeasurably more fun to discover and explore. And of course, not everyone will feel this joy to the same extent, but this game has been talked about all the time since it released and nothing indicates it will suddenly become forgotten. And words, buzzwords especially, turn into actions quickly in gamedev, I'm sure it will serve as an inspiration for many.
So the reason why Elden Ring won the GOTY title is because it's a project that's ambitious and it consistently implemented its very original concepts. It's an example of a game that's grand, but differently. There are few such extensive games on the market, and it outshines them all with daring ideas, crazy design and immersive experience, all of which are much more significant than its size or any other, easily quantifiable qualities. Well, there can only be one game of the year – at The Game Awards the choice was made for us, while our personal choices is another matter altogether. So be sure to share your opinions! Justified either by arguments or by simple gut feelings. Whatever you prefer.
Karol Laska | Gamepressure.com